Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Special Celebration

posted by Aunty Cindy and a few Special Friends

A few nights ago in the Lair...

Rubbing sleep from his eyes, Paolo grumbled aloud as he descended a back staircase. "I hate pulling late night duty. The Banditas always seem to want snacks when it's my turn."

He traversed the short hallway into the side entrance of the kitchen and stood in slack-jawed surprise at Sven working feverishly over a tray of goodies. The unmistakable smell of Joanie's chocolate chip cookies filled the air.

Before Paolo could recover himself to speak, the big Swede tossed an oven mitt at him. "Good! Just in time to remove the first batch of cookies."

Paolo snagged the mitt in mid-air and rushed to the oven. Late night snacks were usually the venue of Sven's assistant Lars, who tended toward serving popcorn or chips and dip. However lately, the newest cabana boy Jean-Pierre had been training specifically to relieve Sven in the kitchen, but he was nowhere to be seen tonight.

"I can't believe you're preparing the snacks tonight," Paolo mused aloud as he pulled first one cookie sheet and then another, both loaded with the fragrant little bits of heaven.

"That's because tomorrow is the BIG DAY," Sven answered, deftly piling hot cookies onto an elegant silver platter. He then shoved the platter into Paolo's left hand and a carrier filled with glasses of milk into his right. "Now get these down to the Banditas slaving away in the deadline caves while the cookies are still warm."

Paolo squinted at the calendar on the wall and saw the date March 25th circled in red with multiple exclamation points after it. "I didn't know it was a holiday."

Sven huffed in aggravation but never missed a beat in plunking more cookie dough on the baking sheets. "How long have you been in the Lair? Don't you pay attention? The calls go out tomorrow for Golden Heart and Rita finalists." When Paolo continued to look confused, Sven continued. "After the calls go out, we'll be having another blow-out extravaganza here in the Lair. Since some of the Banditas and plenty of their friends will be finalists, we'll ask THEM about getting 'the call' and maybe you'll understand."

Looking unconvinced, Paolo hurried off to deliver the milk and warm cookies while Sven shoved the refilled baking sheets into the oven.

Fast forward to the wee hours of Sunday morning...

The Lair is festooned with glittery party decorations, drinks and plenty of goodies for all the Banditas, guests, and BBs. As the celebration gets into full swing, Sven drags an embarrassed Paolo around to ask the Banditas and several of their friends about how they received their 'calls.'

First up is Golden Heart Finalist, Bandita Nancy!

It's always my ambition on Call Day to forget about the whole business. This year, my guys were out of town Thursday night, so I stayed up late and slept in. Within fifteen minutes after I'd grabbed coffee, two solicitation calls came in (and never mind that we're on the Do Not Call registry). The phone rang again, with a name and number I didn't recognize in Caller ID. Figuring it was a solicitation call, I didn't answer. Now irritated and not yet caffeinated, I had no thoughts at all about the Golden Heart.

Five minutes later, another solicitation call, this one from a charity we actually do contribute to, but still. Three in under an hour?! The phone rang again, with Caller ID showing the number and name I'd ignored earlier. I answered the phone in my I Have No Patience voice.

"Nancy, it's Linda Jones with the RWA Board," said the caller, and I thought, The board? Did I botch up something for my committee? (I'm chairing Strategic Advisory this year.) Then she rolled on with "I'm calling to tell you your manuscript finaled."

And then I remembered what day it was. I think I also remembered to thank her. Then I logged onto the computer to see who else had finaled (including Anna Sugden, yay!) and found several names I was delighted to see. As well as happy emails in my inbox. And several on the bandit loop from morning people congratulating Anna and saying, "Doesn't someone ELSE have news?" And "I WISH she would get online."

They know me well, they do, including the fact that I am so not a morning person. I couldn't have a better place to celebrate than the Lair or a better bunch of people to share the fun than the Banditas and our Buddies.

On to our other Bandita finalist, Anna (VA) S!

The experience of GH/RITA day is slightly different for me because I live in the UK and am usually 6 hours ahead of CST. This year, we haven't yet 'sprung forward' so the difference was only 5 hours. Still, it means that there's a morning of hanging around and waiting for everyone on the Board to wake up and get calling.

Like many other people, I was convinced that this would be another year where I wouldn't get the call. I'd forgotten about the date until someone reminded me on Thursday night and even then it didn't click in my poor little brain because ... I'd forgotten I'd entered! I'd been dithering about whether or not to submit an entry this year and somehow as time passed, had assumed I hadn't. LOL

Anyway, as I said, I wasn't expecting a call, so I was busying myself with revising a manuscript, when an email popped up from one of my dear friends - Lindsey Brookes - that she'd finalled. That's when I realised the calls were starting to go out. After squealing happily for her, I scanned a few loops and got back to work. Then an email popped up from a friend saying she couldn't wait to happy dance with me, when I finalled. After laughing, I was in the middle of a reply explaining why I wouldn't be a finalist, when the the phone rang. I assumed it was one of my buddies telling me they'd finalled. Instead, it was the lovely Lorraine Heath to tell me Legacy of Love was a Golden Heart finalist!

Poor Lorraine had to put up with some shocked babbling from me and some celebratory singing from lovely hubby! She handled it with grace *g*. I have to say, it was so much fun to have a call from someone I know - made it all the more special. It was also special that this time, unlike my previous two finals, my hubby was here with me ... not on a plane, halfway across the Atlantic or in an important board meeting!

One of the first emails I typed was to my lovely Banditas - who better to share the fab news with?! My happiness was doubled to see that fellow Bandita Nancy was also a finalist! It was great too to have so many BB's share the fun, here on the loop and on FB and Twitter. And, of course, it was awesome to be able to celebrate on the day Susan Mallery was here!

And now we'll move on to DOUBLE Rita finalist, Virginia Kantra:

You know that scene in "He's Just Not That Into You" where Ginnifer Goodwin is staring at the phone, willing it to ring?

That was me on Friday. And it didn't ring. Not once. All morning. Not for several hours in the afternoon. Which, I told myself firmly, was okay.

Take a deep breath. Work on the next book. Be happy for your friends who have finaled.

I was mopping up cat yack from the carpet when the answering machine picked up.

"YAY YAY YAY!" yelled my friend Carolyn. "Congratuations! Call me."

I swallowed hard and called back. “I’m not a finalist,” I said. Quickly, to get it over with.
“But..." She sounded confused. Embarrassed. I knew the feeling. "Why would someone have texted me that you were?”

“Because she’s an idiot?” I suggested.

“But...Are you sure?”

Of course I was sure. But because I am that big a fool – or an optimist – I unzipped my purse. Looked at my cell phone, which was lit up like a Frasier fir on Christmas morning.

My hands shook.

Nine messages.

The most recent one from my editor. “So exciting! I can’t believe you let me find out from the website!”

Wow. Well. Me, either.

I couldn't focus on my cell phone enough to push all the little buttons and listen to the other calls. I collapsed in front of my computer. Looked on the RWA website.

Well. Wow. I'm a double finalist, for Best Paranormal Romance with IMMORTAL SEA and Best Novella with "Shifting Sea" in BURNING UP.

Yay, yay, oh, really, YAY!!! (And take a deep breath and work on the next book and be happy for my friends who have finaled.)

Next, checking in from Mexico is Ann Aguirre:

I swear, I think this is the first call I ever got. Even when I sold to NY for the first time, my agent IM'd me because it's international long distance. So this was exciting, intoxicating, crazy-with-delight-making. To set the scene, it was early, about fifteen minutes past nine in the morning here, and I was talking to Lauren Dane on IM. One of my friends, Victoria Dahl, had gotten her call, and we were all excited for her, but I wasn't expecting my phone to ring.

And then it did. I didn't say anything to Lauren, but as I ran to answer it, I was thinking, nuh UH, it can't be. But our phone never rings that early, so I had some hope even before I answered. I said, "Bueno!" which is how you answer in Mexico. The person on the other end paused, and then said, "I'm looking for Ann Aguirre." In English. Which was when I knew. Because anyone else would've addressed me in Spanish.

She went on to say, "This is Jeanne Adams from RWA. I'm calling to inform you that your book, KILLBOX, has been chosen as a RITA finalist in the Strong Romantic Elements category..." She told me some more stuff, and was very kind, but I lost my mind after that. I do recall that she said she was a big fan of mine and would be rooting for me in NY. I got some more information from her, and then we disconnected. I ran around my house screaming for a while and then I went to tell Lauren Dane, who I had left hanging in mid-conversation. I told my agent, who was properly thrilled. I twittered about it. I spent four hours surfing an incredible high. Later that night, my family took me out to dinner and to a movie to celebrate (Battle: LA, which is totally appropriate). It was crazy, brilliant, and utterly surreal. I mean, wow, I've finaled in a category that includes Nora Roberts. That pretty much says it all.

Frequent Lair guest, Patricia Rice:

I missed my call! I was doing taxes for AARP Friday morning, and the internet kept crashing, so I was really late leaving, exhausted, stressed out, and starved half to death. I had no idea that it was Call Day, so I grabbed a pear and sat down to check my email while I nuked a Lean Cuisine. The first one I opened was from one of the other Word Wenches, Cara Elliott, shouting she'd been nominated. So out of idle curiosity, I checked my voice mail--something I never do because I'm phone phobic. And sure enough, there was a message from Trish Milburn asking me to call her. Needless to say, my stress disappeared and I was grinning from ear to ear as I munched my nuked pizza! BTW, four of the eight Word Wenches have been nominated, two in historical and two in Regency. Go, us!!!

And speaking of our recent guest Cara Elliott...

The RITA call was all the more wonderful because the day had not gotten off to a great start . . . I awoke to a harried e-mails on a design project I'm working on. Glitches in the web pages needed new files sent ASAP-and I had plans to go to meet friends for lunch at the Thomas Lawrence exhibit at Yale. Swearing under my breath, I was madly working on getting the files done, my mind totally focused on finishing and getting out of the house on time, when the phone rang. Expecting it to be the web designer, I answered rather, er, brusquely.

A soft voice asked for Cara Elliott.

That's a pen name, not my real name, so my first impression was, "How in the world did a fan get my home phone number? (Clearly my head was still in a funk) So I said-again, rather brusquely-“May I ask who's calling?”

The voice replied, “Lorraine Heath.”

Lorraine Heath! Gulp. It slowly sinks in. March 25, writers, phone calls . . . RITAs!

Lorraine went on to say, “I have some good news for you . . .”

Needless to say, I started dancing madly on my chair while stammering my thanks. And then suddenly those files didn't seem quite so odious to finish. Off they went, and I got to my lunch-which was with fellow romance writers, which made it all the more fun to share the good news!

From Romantic Suspense Rita finalist Annie Solomon:

I'd just finished breakfast when the phone rang. I thought: Who the #$# is calling me so early in the am? I checked the caller ID and it was unfamiliar. I was really pissed. Almost didn't answer. But finally I yanked the phone off the hook, ready to yell at whoever was on the other end for calling so early...and this nice, polite woman said she was calling on behalf of RWA.

Gulp...heart pounding...the rest is RITA finalist history, lol!

Moving on to Historical Rita finalist, Sherry Thomas:

Usually I am not a nervous person, possibly because usually I have no idea what's going on. :-) Take the RITAs, for example, in 2009 and 2010, the calls came early in the morning, right after I'd come back home from walking the Junior Kidlet to school, before I'd even realized what date it was. This time, however, I began working before waking the kidlet up, and while using the dictionary widget on my macbook, I happened to glance at the calendar widget, and the 25 was highlighted.

Too bad, a second later, I remembered that RITA calls went out on the 25th.
This set me slight on edge. I am not a hoper--is that a word?--and usually prefer to first mentally prepare myself for the worst that can happen. And when 8:30 came and went, I thought, well, that's probably it. The calls have gone out and I didn't get mine.

Then at 8:37 the phone rang. I scrambled to get it. Ack. The number of a known telemarketer. I pressed the rejection button really hard and muttered something un
der my breath. And then, just as I was walking away from the phone, it rang again. And this time it was Cindy Kirk from RWA. There is an old Turkish proverb that goes: When Allah wants to make a poor man happy, He takes away the man's goat and then lets him find it again. And boy, when I got the call after thinking I wouldn't, did it make me happy!

Another DOUBLE Rita finalist and recent guest, Kieran Kramer:

Here's my call story. I was working on my computer in the kitchen about 9 a.m., deeply immersed in a story I was writing...


I was roaming the Internet to see if anyone had gotten the Call yet, LOL!!!!

I'd barely had time to settle in when my phone rang. It was an area code I didn't recognize, so my heart gave a little leap. But then I reminded myself that I get spam calls from unknown areas all the time. Why should Friday, March 25th, be any different?

But this time, it was. I'd been nominated for Best First Book. The feeling was so surreal, I felt a little disconnected. I couldn't believe it was really happening. But that wasn't the most shocking part of all to my call story! I had NO IDEA that if you finaled in more than one category, a different category coordinator would call. So there I was, my head already spinning, thinking I'd already climbed to the mountain top, when forty minutes later, I got another call from a different unknown area code.

I thought, "Oh. That's weird. Maybe this is someone from the RWA offices reminding me to look for my Rita information packet in the mail."

So when I picked up the phone and Lorraine Heath herself--a Rita winner and NYT- and USA Today best-selling author--was on the other end of the line, I had to grab a chair. What could she possibly want with me? I'd already gotten the Call! And then she proceeded to tell me that I'd finalled in Regency Historicals, too. That call really threw me--even more than the first. I think it's because I knew the first was possible. I'd entered the contest, so I might--just might!--get a call. But the second call? I was truly taken aback. It's been a long time since I was that surprised.

I was babbling into the phone even more than the first call and have no idea what I said.

It was a morning I will never forget!!!

Finally, Lair favorite Nicola Cornick summed it up so well:

It is a huge thrill to receive a RITA nomination for One Wicked Sin and to be a finalist alongside so many fabulous authors whose books I love and whose writing I admire. "The RITA Call" was an amazing experience! It was the first time I had taken "the call" in person and I didn't exactly receive the news in a calm and collected manner. First I was so excited I couldn't breathe then I became incoherent because I was completely overwhelmed. Certainly the dog was looking at me as though he thought I needed urgent medical attention as my squeals of excitement bounced off the kitchen walls. So much for the famous British cool formality!

Congratulations to all the finalists and thank you to the Romance Bandits for inviting me to your RITA Special!

And now a "call story" from the other side of the phone line....

Its 9 a.m. on "call day" and, as a member of the RWA Board, I have my super-secret call list in front of me, and I'm ready to call my first Rita/GH finalist. I had taken my list and organized them by time-zone, east coast to west so I wouldn't call someone in CA at some unholy hour of the morning. All set there, I was ready to dial. It is seriously one of THE BEST moments of a Board Member's time on the board to get to make these calls. SO fun!Anyway, I'm ready to rock, I've got my coffee, I'm mostly awake...dial. Got a voice mail! Arrrrgh! So, I leave a message, very similar to what I said to Ann Aguirre (yes, we DO have a script! ahahah!) "Hi, this is Jeanne...RWA Board...Trying to reach you...try back in a bit, or you can call me at..." I hang up and go on to my next call. About 20 minutes later, my phone rings and it's my friend and fellow WRW member, Gail Barrett. I had SO hoped Gail would final because MELTDOWN is fabulous, and if she did final, that she'd be on my "to call" list. She did final, of course, but she wasn't on MY list! Arrrgh! I had the person just below her on the list. Are you beginning to see what happened? *wince* So Gail calls me, "Hi Jeanne, it's Gail."

I have a very silent, and quite painful apoplectic fit, because I can't tell her ANYTHING. She's not on my list.

"Hi Gail! How are you?" I manage to brightly say, feigning total ignorance of what's going on. There's a pause.

"I'm great, but you left a message on MY machine for this Kendra person...."

OH, CRAP, CRAP, CRAP!!! What can I say, but, "Oh, so sorry!" and get off the phone. WHEW!!! Gail posted later that she was so crestfallen that, at the time, she didn't wonder why I even had her number up and ready to go, nor why I might call her by mistake early on a Friday morning... none of that thankfully, registered.
Now I had to wait until I saw her name pop up on the RWA site, to be SURE my fellow Board Member had called her, so I could then call back and apologize! Hahahah! Gail took it with her usual good grace and aplomb, since thankfully she had actually finaled. Grins. And I was able to tell her how very much I had enjoyed her finaling book, MELTDOWN, and that her number, right above the one I was SUPPOSED to call, is what I'd written down instead. Probably something Freudian in there...

It really was fun to call Ann as well *waves at Ann* because I am a fan, thanks to her coming on here to the Romance Bandits blog. Grins.

Ya'll will laugh because I started out those first few West Coast calls apologizing for calling so early - hey, it WAS early for THEM! - then telling the finalist the news. I wasn't sure Ann even heard the bit about calling so early, or being a fan, but hey, I guess she did! Hahahah!

"Now do you understand the significance of 'Call Day'?" Sven asked as he led the round-eyed Paolo back to the kitchen.

Paolo nodded still struck dumb in astonishment. Sven loaded a tray with mimosas, handed it to the silent cabana boy and gave him a push toward the door. "Then don't you forget it next year! Now make sure none of our guests are thirsty."

Some of our guests have offered copies of their books as a prize for our special celebration. One lucky commenter will receive a copy of:
One Wicked Sin
When Harry Met Molly AND Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right
His at Night
Immortal Sea

So which do you prefer, chocolate chip cookies or mimosas? Do you forgive Paolo for his ignorance? And what makes a celebration special for you?


Kim in Hawaii said...

Aloha! The GR stays in Paradise!

Kim in Hawaii said...

Ho'omaika'i 'ana (congratulations) to all the nominees! I was excited to read the list because I know many of the names! RWA in NYC will rock!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Congrats on keeping the GR, Kim!

Yes, we have a FABULOUS line up for Golden Heart and Rita Finalist this year. :-)

I'm glad I don't have to select the winners.


Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Kim.

Congrats to all the nominees and special shout out to Nancy and Anna. Good luck to all.

Slush said...

Good job Kim! I knew someone with a favorite name of mine would claim the GR today!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Jane,
We are VERY EXCITED about VA and Nancy's GH news! And we'll be cheering them on to VICTORY at the end of June. :-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Slush,
You didn't miss the chook by more than a few feathers. ;-)

Now, would you rather have choccie chip cookies or a mimosa? Paolo is ready!


Maureen said...

You let your cabana boys have lines? ;-) Man, on the Revenge those hotties are too busy to be chatting...

Congrats to all!

Gillian Layne said...

I was so tickled by the announcements because so many of my favorite people were listed! And it's fun to have read so many of the Rita books and say "Yes, it WAS rockin' awesome!"

I would be taking both, because, ahem, what are you supposed to dip the chocolate chip cookies in? Milk? Not at this party! ;)

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Chance!

Y'all run a tight ship over on the Revenge! We threaten our boys that we'll send 'em to you pirates if they don't toe the mark! ;-)

Choccie chip cookie or mimosa?

Paolo? Get your cute lil tushy in gear!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Gillian!

Yes, there were indeed some FREAKIN' AWESOME books nominated this year. As I was loading the covers for this post I kept thinking YOWZA! Just the cover alone is enough to make me read this. ;-)

We can get you some nice Irish Coffee to dip your cookies... Oh Paolo!


Maureen said...

Mmmm! Cookie and a mimosa, please! And here, I brough a bottle of kraken rum ta share!


Cath said...

Congratulations ladies ♥♥♥
Those are some great books and you all deserve to win, so good luck.

I am definitely a chocolate chippies kind of girl, or Tim Tams, or Macaroons, or Toffee Pops, or.....hell who am I kidding?!?! If its chocolate I'll eat it!!!

Congrats again and the best of luck to all =]
Cath (Cath's Chatter)

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Kraken Rum?!?!

Now you're talkin'!

*HIC* OOPS! ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

You are MY kinda woman, Cath!

Chocolate ANYTHING sounds good to me. Maybe we need to get the boys to set up the chocolate fountain...

Paolo, go and fetch the Gladiators. Tell 'em Aunty requires their assistance...


Anonymous said...

Hola AC!

Congrats to all the RITA and GH finalists!

Man, those cookies look good. :)

Pink P.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Pink!

We make nothing but Joanie's award winning cookies here in the Lair, and they won all those awards for GOOD REASONS! ;-)


Slush said...

I tend to like both... though I would prefer a mimosa in the morning and chocolate chip cookies after 12pm lol!

Congrats to all the nominees. I feel like a child at Christmas when I read the selections. So many authors and Banditas that I know within reaching grasp of a wonderful award!

Paolo deserves forgiveness. Even the cutest forget sometimes.

A celebration is special to me when their are plenty to share in the celebration!

Danielle Gorman said...

Congrats to everyone that was nominated! So many great books are nominated. Thank you for sharing your "call" stories. It's great to see what everyone was up to.

Chocolate chip cookies or mimosas? Hmm...too be honest I'm not the biggest fan of either. But if I had to choose chocolate chip cookies it would be.

desere_steenberg said...

Congratulations to each and everyone,you all deserve it !!

Take Care,

June M. said...

Congrats to all the nominees!
I am definately more of a chocolate chip cookie kind of girl, and we should forgive Paolo. He didn't know and I am sure he will never forget again! Celebrations for me are always more special with my friends and family!

Sheree said...

Congrats on the nominations! Call stories are so much fun!

Rainbow cookies for me please (they have M&Ms instead of chocolate chips). Mimosas are good, too, but I'd prefer to celebrate with straight Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin champagne myself.

mariska said...

wooots... congrats on the GR KIM :)

And Huge congrats to all the nominees ! THE very BEST of Luck to you all :)

Hi AC,
i prefer chocolate chip cookies. but hey, is there any Devil's cake here or Red Velvet cake or Oreo Cream Cake ? well, chocolate is my favorite :D

Kirsten said...

March 25 IS a holiday to me, well a birthday. My sisters & today we meet at her house for a party. Don't know if there will be chocolatechip cookies but they are festive and delicious!!!

Congrats ladies on being nominated, best of luck to you all!!!!

Pam said...

Congratulations to all the nominees! I am a chocolate chip cookie kind of girl. How can we NOT forgive the hunky Paolo? And I can come up with an excuse for a celebration anytime, anywhere. Every day is special!

Minna said...

Now you've done it! I just have to bake coconut chocolate chip cookies and maybe a pineapple tigercake, too.

Helen said...

Well done Kim have fun with him

Whoo hoo Ladies huge congrats to you all I am over the moon.

I am still at the hotel at Bondi beach after the Convention and the ARRA Awards night.

I think I might need a mimosa at the moment and then a good nights sleep LOL

Have Fun

Maureen said...

Congratulations to Nancy and Anna and all the guests who are finalists. This must be an exciting time. I like all sweets and if it has chocolate it's even better.

PJ said...

Congratulations to all the finalists! Many of my favorite writers and books are in the finals which makes the fact that I'll be in NYC this summer to cheer you on that much more exciting!

Let the party begin!

Janga said...

Reading all these Big Day call stories was fun. I did my share of cheering Friday as so many books I enjoyed in 2010 showed up on the list. Facebook, Twitter, and blogs allow us all to share in the celebrations, making Rita/GH call day a party day throughout the romance community.

Congratulations to all the finalists! And pass me a chocolate chip cookie please. Gotta love these calorie-free, guilt-free virtual cookies!

Deb said...


A celebration can be LOUD with lots of friends and WOOT-WOOTING. Or, it can be quiet with lots of friends, lots of smiles, and woot-wooting. CONGRATS again to all of the Banditas and Lair Friends!!

Gotta have those chocolate chip cookies. Heck, let's make a HUGE one and use frosting to write CELEBRATION TIME on it!!!

gamistress66 said...

Cograts to all!!! :) If only everyone could win ;) I guess Paulo could be forgiven just this once, but only if he keeps the drinks & cookies coming (I'll take a couple of those warm choc chip cookies, just yummy for bkfst).

Lulu said...

Congratulations to all the nominees! Woot!

I prefer to celebrate with mimosas AND warm chocolate chip cookies. Sweet and sweeter!

Paolo has to wake up and smell the mimosas. How could he ever forget such an important day?

And a celebration is special to me when the people who are closest to me share in my joy.

Carol L. said...

What a great post today. Congrats to all the nominees. Everyone should be a winner.I wish you all the best of luck. I'd forgive Paolo this time. After all he has the cookies and Mimosas. :) I'll take a big fat CC cookies though.
Congrats again ladies.
Carol L

flchen1 said...

Cookies, please, Paolo! Such an incredible list of nominees!

Jo Bourne said...

Many many congratulations to all the Finalists. What a wonderful list of books this year. I've read a surprising number of them and look forward to reading the rest. My TBR shelf is doing to topple the bookcase over if this keeps up.

This is one of those times when I wish everybody could win.

catslady said...

Congratulations to everyone nominated! I'd go for the mimosa first and then maybe sneek in a chocolate chip cookie too lol. Food and drink and friends and laughter are always a great way to celebrate!

Barbara E. said...

Congrats to all the finalists, how exciting.
I'd take chocolate chip cookies over alcohol any day. What makes a celebration special for me is to be able to celebrate with family and friends who know me and who are all happy for me.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Congrats to all of the finalists, such an exciting time for you but the BB's always had faith.

I prefer mimosas and I would probably forgive Paolo just about anything.

Nancy said...

Kim, congrats on the bird!

Cindy, chocolate chip, definitely. I've never been a fan of mimosas, even though Sven makes great ones.

Nancy said...

Congratulations to all the finalists. These are wonderful books. I've read several of them, and the rest are on my TBR pile. It's always nice to have an excuse for buying a fancy dress.

And some of us, I'm sure, are buying fancy shoes. *g*

Nancy said...

Thanks to everyone for the congratulations and good wishes. It's very exciting!

Nancy said...

AC, thanks so much for putting this blog together! The framing sequence is great.

Um, you sent Paolo for the gladiators? You do know he's scared of them, right? And they do their best to keep it that way. *sigh*

I have to give Paolo credit, though. He may be a bit on the, er, nervous side, but he's always willing to pitch in and help.

Louisa Cornell said...

Can't blame the GR for wanting to stay with you, Kim! We're under tornado watches here all day and it is presently raining mixed with hail. Never a good sign!


And if everyone backs AWAY from the chocolate chip cookies nobody will get hurt!

LOVE Chocolate Chip cookies, especially fresh from the oven. Big glass of milk handy and I am in heaven!

My favorite way to celebrate with friends is lots of music, food and great conversation.

If I have to celebrate alone I like some really great chocolate and an ice cold Coke.

For the "pity party" when I don't final or when things don't go the way I planned? A pepperoni pizza (Domino's) and SEVERAL ice cold Cokes followed by a curl up in bed with the dogs and a great romance novel!

Patricia Rice said...

What a fun blog, even I seem to be almost the only numbwit who didn't know it was Call Day. It's fun to see what everyone else was doing.

I celebrated by baking an applesauce cake. "G"

And why is Jo Bourne being so polite about not mentioning her call?

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Morning everyone,
I'm afraid that bottle of Kraken Rum Chance shared with me last night has resulted in a very late start for me today. ;-)

Slush, it does almost feel like Christmas morning, doesn't it? And now that we have 'educated' Paolo, I'm sure he won't make any such blunders in the future. :-P


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Not too fond of chocolate chip cookies OR mimosas, Danielle?

Well, put in your order to Sven. Nothing he likes better than whipping up some special food or drink for our BBs!

who LURVES Sven, even if it was Mme. who first lured him to the Lair

Maureen said...

Sorry, auntie...kraken rum be powerful stuff...but ooooooh so good!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Just popping on to say "CONGRATULATIONS" to Anna S and Nancy and to all the RITA and GH finalists this year. May this be the LAST year either Anna or Nancy are eligible!!! (translation: lots of sales). Much luck to all of you!

Gannon Carr said...

Congrats to everyone! I have goosebumps reading everyone's call stories---beyond exciting!

Oh, I'll take chocolate chip cookies and a mimosa. Yummy!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Thanx for stopping by Desere,

And I must agree with you, there are MANY very deserving authors on both lists!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Better bring some warm and fresh cookies for June since she is so forgiving and cutting you a ton of slack!

Enjoy, June!


JM said...

Mmmm, I love chocolate chip cookies with walnuts!
Ladies, I can only wish you all heartfelt congratulations! And Luck, of course!

BJ said...

Congratulations ladies!!!!
Way to go :0)

I'm gonna go with Chocolate chip cookies...they looked YUMMY!

Jo Bourne said...

@ Pat Rice --

I am so abashed. I was out in the back planting rhodadendrons and agonizing over the untidy state of my compost when the The Call came in.

I had misplaced the significance of the day somewhere in the lumber room of my mind, under stacks of 'What do I do in Chapter Twenty?'and behind piles of 'Is that poison ivy down by the path?'

My phone decided to record this message for a change so I found it waiting for me when I washed up and came in.

I'd say it's a little anticlimatic when you have to make your own 'The Call' -- but it isn't. All the excitement is still there.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Those Rainbow cookies sound DELISH, Sheree!

And straight up bubbly to wash them down!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

One big slice of Red Velvet Cake coming up, Mariska! I saw Sven putting one in the oven a little while ago. It should be frosted within moments!

Meanwhile, it appears that the gladiators have installed the Chocolate Fountain. GO FOR IT, Everyone!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hope your sister had a GREAT birthday and that you have a fabulous celebration.


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Paolo is making you a special cookie with chocolate chips in the shape of a heart. ;-)



Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Tiger Pineapple cake sounds WONDERFUL! You'll have to share your recipe with Sven. ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

HUGS, Helen!

Thanx for checking in from Bondi! I'm sure you and Barb and Fo and all the other Oz BBs had a FABULOUS time. Wish we all could have attended the conference.


Donna MacMeans said...

My ears are finally recovering from all the cheering and hoopla in the lair from Friday. We're so proud of our nominated banditas, but also of all the RITA nominees, many of which have spent a day or two in the lair. Way to go and thank you for giving us such wonderful books! I'm with AC - I'm glad I don't have to pick the winners (but I'll be anxiously watching from the audience).

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Kim! you got the Bird!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

AC said: I'm glad I don't have to select the winners.

Me too, AC!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Step right up to the chocolate fountain! There are fresh strawberries and other goodies for dipping. YUM!!!!


Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Gillian! you said: And it's fun to have read so many of the Rita books and say "Yes, it WAS rockin' awesome!"

YES! This is it exactly, Gillian!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Be sure you have something to soothe your throat. There will be MUCH cheering in NYC this summer! I wish I could be there (sob), but you'll have to do some of my cheering for me.


Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Sheree! My sistah! Rainbow cookies for me please (they have M&Ms instead of chocolate chips). Mimosas are good, too, but I'd prefer to celebrate with straight Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin champagne myself.

I'm SO there with the Veuve. Grins. Love the Widow's champagne. :> And I'd rather have it straight, no juice please. And I'll wait a while on the chocolate.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nancy said: It's always nice to have an excuse for buying a fancy dress.

And some of us, I'm sure, are buying fancy shoes. *g*

Shoes!! Yes. Shoes. Ooooh, and fancy dresses.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Calorie and Guilt FREE cookies coming up, Janga! Thanks for stopping by to help us celebrate!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Move over Everyone!

Here comes Paolo with the HUGE cookie frosted with CELEBRATE across it. Thanx for the great idea, Deb!

Keep up the WOOT-WOOTING y'all!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

I'd say Paolo is running his cute lil tushy off today in hopes of being forgiven by ALL the Banditas and BBs. I think he will have earned absolution by the end of the day. ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Here are cookies AND a mimosa for you!

We love celebrating here in the Lair, esp. when all our friends pop in to join us. Thanx for making our celebration even more special!


Joan said...

Woohoo!!! Congratulations to our own Anna and Nancy and all our other guests!!!

LOL Nancy on your impatient tone when you answered. That was the way I was in 2006! I was THIS close to hanging up when the message got through.

I ended up eating breakfast and lunch with my fellow hopeful Lisa within 4 hours. We didn't get a call, but we got plenty full.

And ROFL Virginia that your stellar moment came after cleaning up cat yak....LOL.SO understand that.

Again, Congratulations and pass the cookies

Kate Carlisle said...

Mmm, cookies and mimosas! All is forgiven, Paolo. :-)

Congratulations to our very own Nancy and Anna and to all of the fabulous finalists!!

And what fun it must be to make those calls. Thanks for your view from the other side, Jeanne!

And aloha to Kim! :-)

jo robertson said...

What a wonderful blog, Cindy! You outdid yourself. I get all warm and tingly thinking of the excitement of writers getting the call. It's truly a thrilling experience because it validates all your hard work as an author.

Wonderful stories, ladies. Thanks for sharing with us!

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Congratulations to all the finalists. And Jeanne is right, it's so much fun to call the finalists. And honestly, I was nervous too. It's hard to sit there and wait for the appointed hour to start calling because you know the people might have not been able to sleep the night before and are up earlier than normal. The first person I got to call, I actually know. And she was beside herself happy. That just made my day.

And here's my goofball story (love yours, Jeanne, hee hee) -- one of my very good friends, Annie Solomon, was on the finalist list (though not mine) but I'd somehow overlooked her name. When she posted her good news to our chapter loop later in the day, I went back to the master list I'd received from RWA and felt like smacking myself upside the head.

Susan Sey said...

Congrats to all you wonderful, talented finalists! I do love call stories, & yours are no exception.

Special congrats to our very own Nancy & Anna. We're bursting our buttons here in the Lair over you two.

Can't wait to cheer you all on in NYC!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

And what fun it must be to make those calls. Thanks for your view from the other side, Jeanne!

It was a blast, Kate!

Jeanne M said...

I loved the Banditas finalist list! What a great group of authors are RITA finalist and I was thrilled to see that Kieran Kramer was included.

I'd definately pick chocolate cookies because as my sons would say when someting was really terrific "Sweet!".

Beth Andrews said...

What a fabulous blog! I loved reading about everyone's calls *g*

Congratulations to all the GH and RITA finalists!! I can't wait for the award ceremony :-) Thank you all so much for sharing your excitement with us!

Minna said...

1 kilogram = 1000 g = 2 lbs 3 oz
100 g = 3.5 oz
1 litre = 10 dl = (more than) 2 pints
1 decilitre = (less than) ½ cup

Pineapple tiger cake:

•200 g margarine
•1 1/2 dl sugar
•3 eggs
•3 dl flour (about)
•2 tsp vanilla sugar
•2 tsp baking powder
•3 tblsp milk
•2-3 tblsp cocoa
200g crushed pineapple
Carefully butter and flour a cake tin. Beat fat and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each one. Add the baking powder and vanilla sugar to the flour and stir in slowly. Put one-third of the mixture in another bowl and add 2-3 tblsp of sifted cocoa and 3 tblsp of milk. Add to the two-third of the mixture the pineapple.

Put the mixture into the prepared cake in tin in layers, beginning and ending with the plain mixture. Bake at 175 °C for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Homemade vanilla sugar:

LilMissMolly said...

Congratulations to all nominated Banditas! I'm a chocolate chip cookie gal myself - make it anything chocolate and I'm so there!

Raonaid Luckwell said...

* Blushes * Um, this is bad but I've never really had a mimosa so by default I have to go with the chocolate chip cookies.

Nearly everyone deserves forgiveness

Congrats to all the nominees!!

Nancy said...

Congratulations, Jo!

Pat, thanks for outing her. :-)

Nancy said...

Louisa, what about chocolate ice cream _in_ an ice cold Coke?

It's one of my favorite combos, but talk about a sugar high . . .

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Wow, Minna, that sounds great!

Christine Wells said...

What a fabu post, AC!

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Particularly wild muppet flail for Nancy and VA on their GH finals. We'll be cheering you on in New York.

Whenever someone in the lair has a success I send my dancing WOOHOO. The woohoo is getting a real workout lately!

Thank you, all you lovely RITA and Golden Heart nominees for sharing the call with us. And WOW on the giveaways! Someone's going to get lucky tonight!

Christine Wells said...

@Jo Bourne -- thank you so much for stopping in with us and sharing your call story too! At least when you make your own call you're not likely to say anything wildly appropriate or accuse the poor board member of being a telemarketer! I was asleep when both my GH and my RITA calls came in so goodness knows what I babbled!

Ann Aguirre said...

Congrats to all the finalists. And yes, Jeanne, I heard you, but I was beyond excited. I was dying to hang up so I could run around and scream. *g*

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

@Ann Aguirre said: Congrats to all the finalists. And yes, Jeanne, I heard you, but I was beyond excited. I was dying to hang up so I could run around and scream. *g*

Heehee. I'm LOL at the mental picture. Grins. I loved too that you were mid-conversation with Lauren. You sounded so brisk and awake too, for that early hour. Grins.

Leni said...

Chocolate chip cookies will win if it's up to me. And the food helps to get the celebration going.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Never fear, Carol,
Paolo has a tray of BIG FAT CC cookies just for you! Thanx for stopping by to party with us. :-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Since Paolo is otherwise engaged in cookie delivery, I'm sending the newest cabana boy Jean-Pierre your way. Being a long time Lair regular, you can get this newbie off to a good start! ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Jo B,
Thanx sooo much for stopping by and WOO HOO on your Rita nom! And thanx Pat R. for 'outing' her. ;-)

Another round of mimosas for EVERYONE!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Cabana Boys! Get Catslady another mimosa!

You're so right, m'dear, fun, food and friends are never in short supply here in the Lair. ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Have another cookie, Barbara E!

We're happy you could join our celebration today. Yes, it's so nice to be around people who understand and feel HAPPY for your achievements. That's how it is here in the Lair, and we LOVE to celebrate!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

HUGS to YOU, Dianna!

You are such a wonderful, supportive fan of all us Banditas and the other BBs! Have another cookie. Paolo is very grateful for your forgiveness. ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

LOL Nancy,
I'm sure you are correct about the shoe shopping. ;-)

And you know how we are always making the cabana boys "face their fears." Poor dear Paolo has a few more than most of the boys, but he does put forth a good effort most of the time. As for the gladiators, when all else fails, we do have the Goddess Sangria to keep them in line.


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Louisa,
Between your celebratory party and your pity party, sounds like a win-win situation to me! Only I'll take Pepsi instead of Coke. I know you won't mind. :-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Applesauce cake sounds like a YUMMY way to celebrate, Pat!

And thanks for mentioning Jo B's Rita nom, since she was being bashful. ;-)


Louisa Cornell said...

Oooh, Nancy! You are SO wrong to even suggest that to me!! Especially as today is the last day I can have chocolate OR Coke before Nationals. I want to be able to fit into the evening gown my Mom bought for me!

Chocolate ice cream in a glass of Coke! TOO DIE FOR !!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Chance,
You tried to warn me about that Kraken Rum. Shoulda listened... :-P

I'm with you, let's all HOPE that VA and Nancy won't be eligible for the GH next year, along with the other AYU Banditas. May this be the year of MANY sales!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Over here with the cookies, Paolo! And Jean-Pierra, get some more mimosas!

Cookies for YOU, BJ!

And BOTH for you, Gannon!

Sven is baking up a special batch of cookies with walnuts for you, JM!

We aim to please here in the Lair. ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Rhodadendrons are so pretty, Jo B. that you can be forgiven for being distracted on 'the Call' day. ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

You are SO RIGHT, Donna!

We have an ultra talented bunch of Banditas and friends here in the Lair!

Jeanne and Trish,
I'm envious that you get to make the FUN calls to the finalists. But LOL on the hazards of "making" as well as "receiving" the calls. Thanx for sharing.


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Joanie, honey, your chocolate chip cookies are a cause for celebration in and of themselves!

I think poor Sven is baking his twentieth batch by now. ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Kate, Jo-Mama, and Smoov,

Thanx for joining the celebration. A TOAST to VA and Nancy! And to all our wonderful friends who received GH and Rita calls! Please keep up all the wonderful work!


night owl in IL said...

Great stories!
I couldn't choose between a chocolate chip cookie or a mimosa. Of course, I'd forgive Paolo - everyone has to learn. A special celebration is when family/friends are together & having a good time.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Thanx for helping us celebrate, Jeanne M!

We were so pleased to see that our recent guest Kieran was a DOUBLE Rita finalist!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Beth,
I'll bet you will be a lot more relaxed at this year's awards ceremony. ;-) It's always fun to cheer for our friends!

Minna, thanx, the cake recipe sounds great! Sven will have to try it out.


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Step right up to our chocolate fountain! Oh, and here's a cookie too. ;-)

A mimosa is basically orange juice and champagne, but Sven has a few 'secret' ingredients he adds to his so they are EXTRA YUMMY!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

LOL Mme!
Love that "wild muppet flail" for VA and Nancy. I can totally picture what that looks like. :-)

How many mimosas have you had?


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Ann A. THANX for dropping by today and for sharing your Rita Call story with us. Le Duchesse was swooning with excitement at being able to call you. ;-)

Best of luck at the awards ceremony to you and ALL our friends!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Leni, thanx for joining our celebration today.

You too, Night Owl! Great to have you here in the Lair and Paolo is very grateful for your forgiveness. ;-)

It's been a VERY FUN day of celebration. Now I think I'll join Nancy and Louisa with their ice cream and soda concoctions. We used to call those an ice cream float. I'll stick with Pepsi and vanilla ice cream, however.


Nancy said...

Louisa, you have a new evening gown?! Fabulous!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

AC said: Le Duchesse was swooning with excitement at being able to call you. ;-)

I was, I was! :>

Jenn3128 said...

This was a great post! Congrats!

Pat Cochran said...

Guess what? I'm late, as usual!
( I think my brain has accepted that
as a Bandita Buddy it is my job to be
the late one posting a comment!!!)

Oh, well,I just wanted to congratulate
Anna and Nancy and everyone else on
finaling in the competitions! It is
marvelous being even just a tiny,
minute part of all the excitement!
I'll have fingers, toes, and even eyes
crossed for all of you!!

Anna Sugden said...

I'm sorry I missed the party - thanks everyone for the congrats! I've been laid low with a sinus infection ... yes, I know how to celebrate in style! Plan to make up for it in NY,

cara elliott said...

Chiming in WAY late, but thanks for such a fun blog, Bandits! Love hearing all the other stories. Am so thrilled to be part of such an awesome group of nominees! NYC will be such fun!